CHAPTER TWO

The dance was beautiful. Music played. Food was served. It was a festive atmosphere. Maria watched from the DJ booth. The principal was with her. He beamed with pride. This was a great event, he said. This was what the kids waited for all year. Nothing could go wrong, he said. Maria knew he couldn't be more wrong.

A lot of people showed up. The school sold five hundred tickets to the event. Each ticket was for a couple, bringing the total to a thousand. Chaperones were everywhere. Half the school's teachers swarmed the dancefloor. They had their eye out for shenanigans. Maria had her eye out too. Molly told her no details. Maria had to be surprised. So she didn't know what would happen or when. It was a perfect plan.

That afternoon, the football team was suspended. They broke a few windows. The administrators were pissed. The boys had to go. They had a lot of punishment ahead of them. None of them could attend the dance. They could only go home. They were lucky to not face charges. The whole school knew it. Everyone also knew what they said. All of them said they'd get even, that they didn't break the window and the school would pay for suspending them.

As the crowd reached its peak, Maria saw how "they would get back." A bunch of water balloons fell from the ceiling. Each was filled with paint. It was a rainbow fiesta on the dancefloor. Everyone screamed, some from shock, others from surprise. Everyone was stunned. What was going on?

The principal was furious. He called security. He had to find out who placed those balloons. He had to know what was going on, if anything else would happen. Maria watched in stunned silence. She was immediately questioned. She told them the truth-she left at ten and locked the gym behind her. That was before the football team arrived.

The principal demanded they check the door. They found marks all over it. The marks made it look like someone was trying to break in. No one knew if they were successful. The area was in a blind spot too. No camera picked up the action. No one knew who did it or if they got in. Judging by the balloons, someone got in.

The crowd was nervous. They murmured fearfully. The adults ran around in a frenzied fashion. Maria remained in the booth. She watched the DJ begin his next track. In an instant, the next phase started. Demonic music played. People covered their ears. Others screamed. What was going on? Maria knew, but she was still shocked.

Everyone looked around for more problems. When they felt wetness on them, they looked up. Something activated the sprinklers. Instead of water, a blood-like substance came out. Everyone was covered. It looked like everything was bleeding. The heavy rock music didn't help. People tried to leave in droves. They were kept inside by security. Everyone inside was a suspect so they couldn't leave.

That was just what Molly wanted.

The music changed. It was a chant of some sort. Maria couldn't decipher it. She tried hard to listen. People were screaming and crying. They felt trapped. They also made a lot of noise. Maria understood nothing. But she knew it was time to stop things. She didn't think the finale had started yet. She didn't know what would happen. But she knew something was coming.

The chanting stopped. People let out sighs of relief. Then, the finale came. The inflatables deflated. The streamers seemed to burn. People screamed. Security had no choice but to let people out. Maria could tell the smoke was just incense. But no one knew how it ignited. No one knew anything. But the theory from the admins was just what they wanted: The football team was taking the blame.